The Pacer by Rich Mackin
With an aging fleet of Diesel Multiple Units, British Rail sought a low-cost solution to the problem of replacing a large part of their fleet. A series of prototypes were built in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which led to British Rail ordering the Class 141-144 railbus family, often known as 'Pacers'. Using British Leyland bus body parts on four-wheel underframes, these units are typically found in the North, South Wales, and south-west England. Often underappreciated by passengers, the Pacers arguably saved many rural lines from an uncertain future in the 1980s. New regulations aimed at making trains accessible to disabled passengers mean that the Pacers are now entering their twilight years, with Northern set to replace their entire fleet by the end of 2019 with a combination of new and cascaded stock. Here, Rich Mackin offers readers the opportunity to examine these hardworking units during their final years as they head towards retirement.